Meet the World's Biggest Fruit – and the Company Using it to Change Vegan Food Options

Aabaco Small Business

"Jackfruit is just the latest breakthrough product from Upton’s Naturals. Based in Chicago, Upton’s Naturals is an independently-owned natural foods company that focuses on meat alternatives and vegan values."

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Read this before you lug home that jackfruit

The Washington Post

“We use young, green, unripe jackfruit,” says Upton’s co-founder and vice president Nicole Sopko, “that hasn’t developed sweetness or seeds. People say its cooked texture is like that of shredded pork or poultry — and really, it’s been cooked [savory] for hundreds of years by different cultures in Southeast Asia.”

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Is Jackfruit Really the Pulled Pork of Vegans? (video)

Fox News

"Now, we love our pulled pork (and all types of BBQ), so we were a bit skeptical.  So, we decided to take Upton's Naturals BBQ flavor to the streets of New York City--and were kind of shocked by the response."

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In Just 48 Hours, a Chicago Live/Work Space Is Built from the Ground Up Using Concrete Panels


"An industrious Chicago couple set up shop in a historic manufacturing district almost overnight using prefab concrete panels."

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Upton's Naturals Driftwood Magazine

Kelly Peloza Photo/Driftwood Magazine

"The preliminary form of Upton’s started 10 years ago, and now exists as a three-story building in Chicago that was built from the ground up to house the seitan factory, Upton's Breakroom the restaurant, and a living space for president and VP, Dan Staackmann and Nicole Sopko. While based in Chicago, Upton’s is available across the U.S. and is becoming global with the release of the new jackfruit products."

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10 Power Couples Behind Some of Today’s Most Successful Vegan Establishments

Vegan Weddings HQ

"Dan: It’s nice to have something we’re so passionate about, in common. On behalf of the business, we enjoy traveling together, and other business owners and clients we meet along the way get to know us both, which is nice."

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Praise Seitan! Upton's Naturals Expands

The MFA Blog -

"Not surprisingly, demand for Upton's products has expanded exponentially over the years. Now, the sultans of seitan are poised to move into a brand-new, 10,000-square-foot production space"

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Go Gluten Free? No, eat more of it

Crain's Chicago Business -

"Herbivores are core customers, but a growing number of "flexitarians"–carnivores eating more meatless meals–are buying alternatives made from wheat or soy."

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Of Slumlords and Satan: Specter in Baltimore and Chicago

Brooklyn Street Art Blog -

"My piece comments on how eating meat alternatives like Seitan is good for the environment."

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Famous Artist Beats Graffiti Artists to the Punch at a West Town Café

The Chicago Architecture Blog -

“I wanted to achieve a subtle concept of sustainability and clean air,” Specter said. “I also want it to enhance the building and be a design the residents of the neighborhood can enjoy.”

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Slaughterhouse-less Seitan Chicago -

"The stockyards' legacy, if just a shadow today, still remains. And yet here is Upton's Naturals. Staackmann, Sopko, and their burgeoning staff are penning a new, bloodless page in the city's history."

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Veg Out in the Breakroom at Upton's Naturals Chicago -

"In April, Upton’s Naturals’ president, Dan Staackmann, and vice president, Nicole Sopko, led me on a walking tour of their new facility—a three-story seitan manufacturing plant with a yoga studio, a rooftop garden, and a café named Upton’s Breakroom."

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Grand Ave New Home of an Instant Building in West Town

Our Urban Times -

"Concrete on a steel mesh, the 50,000 pound panels began rolling in on flatbed rigs around 9:30 a.m. to a small group of observers who were attempting to avoid freezing appendages."

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Compassionate Company Spotlight: Upton's Naturals

The MFA Blog -

"As we always like to point out, seitan is its own thing and conveniently has a meaty texture. We've tried to season ours similarly to popular meat products to offer those who miss them the opportunity to enjoy those tastes."

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Upton's Naturals Seitan Company (video)

Will Travel for Vegan Food -

"Have I mentioned that this is the most adorable vegan couple I’ve ever met?!"

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Empire of the Seitan

Chicago Reader -

"Staackmann's recipes skip the mystifying "isolated soy proteins" and "natural flavors" found in national brands, opting instead for "actual flavors, based on traditional recipes, with things like garlic, onion, and soy sauce.""

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